My week started with a little dinner party on Saturday night with Steve and Alex. I decided on trying out some recipes from my new Ella Woodward book, Deliciously Ella Everyday. My fridge was full of yummy veggies so I was able to take my pick from the recipes which was great. I picked three dishes from the book..Roasted parsnip fries, courgette and carrot strip salad and warming pesto butter beans. I made my own recipe hummus to go alongside with some crunchy carrot sticks to dip. The flavour combinations were wonderful. We all felt very virtuous eating the healthy recipes. That was until dessert.. I had made Nigella Lawsons Guinness and chocolate cake. A moist and decadent chocolate cake with a scrummy cream cheese topping. I think that cake wiped out the health benefits of our main course but who cares! That’s what life is about.. A little bit of what you fancy. If I had had fish and chips followed by the chocolate cake I might be on the treadmill in the morning but I felt we had a happy balance.
It was lovely catching up with Alex. I hadn’t seen her since she spent Christmas with us. Time flies doesn’t it?
On Sunday evening Steve and Alex went out to see a band and I decided to stay in with my chum Serena. I cooked supper for us. I thought a bit of comfort food was in order. We had had a stormy few days here in the south west with Storm Imogen and it just felt right. I decided on baked sweet potatoes with sour cream, spring onion and avocado.. Yum! I prepared a little green salad to go alongside. For dessert it was left over Guinness chocolate cake from the night before. I tarted it up a bit with some juicy raspberries and blueberries.
We caught up on each other’s news and put the world to rights as usual. A lovely, lovely evening with Serena as always.
I popped along to Cakeadoodledo in the week for a quick cuppa with Steve. It’s so lovely in there. If you haven’t been, go! They sell the most wonderful cakes and light lunches. All made on the premises by Kate Shirazi and her wonderful team. Plus, they have a cute little courtyard. Not so great when storm Henry is bashing us to smithereens but lovely when the sun shines.
On Tuesday Steve and I ventured down to the Quay for a little walk and of course a little tea stop to get out of the cold. The day started off bright and cheery so we were eager to get out and get some fresh air. We walked what I call “the loop over the wobbly bridge”. It’s an easy circular walk that isn’t at all taxing and you can take in the wildlife and views around the quay and canal area. It really is very pretty when the sun shines. There were some beautiful swans gliding in the river which took our attention for a while. They really are majestic in the water. You don’t realise how big they are until you come face to face with them on dry land!
We stopped off at The Welcome Cafe. The cutest family run cafe on the far side of the river. A short walk from the main bar/restaurant and shop area. It’s a personal favourite of mine there. An old pub that has been transformed into the friendliest tea room in town. You always receive the warmest welcome from the family when entering and they couldn’t be more eager to please whilst you are their guest. We ordered tea for me and coffee for Steve then sat in a perfect window seat with views over the canal. We managed to warm up a little whilst hugging our tea cups and coffee cups. As much as the sun was shining there was a real bite in the air and my fingers had gone numb!
Once all the tea and coffee was consumed and the feeling had come back in my fingers we carried on with our loop and then back up the hill towards town. At this point the heavens opened and Steve and I got caught in the heaviest hail storm that turned in to torrential rain and got drenched! Hey ho.. I knew I should have taken an umbrella!
Once home and dried off I had arranged a meeting with Hannah from Plymouth Tea at Tara’s Busy Kitchen HQ. She showed me a selection of teas from green to black to herbal and fruit.. The scent in my lounge was heavenly as bags of loose leaf teas were open for me to choose from. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be able to see all the teas in person and pick some for my next (sold out!) Tara’s Busy Kitchen Presents.. Event on Sunday 28th February.
Hannah and I spent about 2 and a half hours talking about tea and other local food products that we had come across. It was lovely talking to someone who is really passionate about her teas and I think some of that passion rubbed off on me. I am so excited about trying the teas and now I know more about them I can pass my knowledge onto my guests on the 28th February.
After my brilliant education in the world of tea I decided to get back in the kitchen. It was Shrove Tuesday otherwise known as “Pancake Day”. I made my easy pancake recipe. Steve and I topped our pancakes with Co-Yo coconut yoghurt, creme fraiche, berries, various jams and maple syrup. Goodness me they were yummy and perfect for a Shrove Tuesday supper.
Thursday I woke up bright and early. The sun was shining into my bedroom and it felt just like spring. I jumped out of bed (I actually do this.. I am definately an early bird!) and got myself showered and ready to pop into town to meet my lovely chum Lucy. I met her from her bus at 10am and suggested Exe Coffee Roasters as a venue. A) Because it’s new. B) Because it’s good. C) Because it’s worth taking your chum from out of town on a little coffee adventure. We took the 10-15 minute walk across town in the sunshine to Heavitree Road all the while catching up on each other’s news.
We ordered our drinks at the counter and sat down at the window seats to watch the world go by. I ordered a pot of tea and Lucy had a filter coffee. We both had pastries made by Okemoor Bakery. Absolutely stunning. Crispy pastry and soft fillings. Definately worth the calories!
I had a very rare weekend off due to the half term holiday here in the UK so I made use of it by meeting my friend Johanna for drinks and pizza on Friday night. We decided on Base + Barley as our venue, ordered a bottle of Chenin Blanc and perused the menu. I was torn with my menu choices .. I felt like I should have pizza as they are very good. However I had seen an Instagram picture earlier on in the day and the aubergine with harissa and tzatziki was calling me! In the end Johanna and I decided on pizza. Both of us are massive anchovy fans so ordered our pizzas with extra anchovies! We decided on sharing an affogato just to round off our meal. It was delicious..
It’s been a very foodie week this week and there is more of the same next week. I am looking forward to trying lunch at Circa 1924 next Friday and visiting the farmers market at Exeter University. I am also going to Bath for the day for some foodie fun so watch this space for what I discover.Have a great week everybody.